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In 1993, two-year-old James Bulger was brutally murdered by two 10-year-old boys in England. 

The James Bulger murderer is one of the most shocking cases of child crimes in recent history.

Twenty-six years after the incident, a short film recreating the police interviews with the killers John Venables and Robert Tompson was released.

The short film is tipped for winning an Oscar 2019 but now, Bulger’s parents are criticizing the movie and are calling for a boycott of the new film.

 

Here’s everything you need to know:

What happened to James Bulger?

James Bulger

On February 12th, 1993, two-year-old James Bulger was murdered in Kirby, England.

Bulger was led away by two boys at a crowded shopping center after his mother looked away

The two boys — Robert Thompson and Jon Venables — were 10 when they abducted, tortured and ultimately killed Bulger. His destroyed body was found two days later on railroad tracks in Liverpool.

After Brown’s body was found at the railway line, it soon emerged that the toddler was covered in blue paint - a detail that eventually led cops to Venables and Thompson.

Thompson and Venables were eventually convicted of abducting and killing Bulger, making them the youngest convicted murderers in modern English history. They were sent to a secure youth accommodation facility with a recommendation that they serve at least eight years in prison.

Both Thompson and Venables were released in 2001 and given new identities, but Venables was jailed again in 2010 for downloading and distributing indecent images of children.

James Bulger
Mugshot of Jon Venables, at 10 years of age, in the UK on Feb. 20, 1993.

James Bulger
Mugshot of Robert Thompson on Feb. 20, 1993, when he was 10 years old. 

What is Detainment about?

James Bulger
Photo: IMDB

Detainment is a short film, directed and written by the Irish filmmaker Vincent Lambe. The story is based on transcripts of the police investigations of Thompson and Venables.

It won best short film and special jury award at the Cannes Lions festival in June 2018 and went on to win the Grand Prix at the Odense film festival in Denmark, which qualified it to be considered for an Academy Award.

"My intention with the project was to 'humanize' the killers in order to explore what factors could cause human beings to commit horrific crimes," Lambe told The Sun.

The film is now expected to earn a nomination at the 2019 Academy Awards.

Why Bulger's parents want to boycott the film

James Bulger
James Buger's parents at a police conferance 1993.

Bulger’s parents are not happy about the short film that has been about their son and is trying to make the Oscars drop the film from their shortlist.

According to Bulger’s father Ralph, Lambe never asked for permission to do the film.

"It has been 26 years since my son was taken and murdered and so I have seen many documentaries and news stories about him. But I have never been so cut up and offended by something that shows so little compassion to James and his family,” Ralph told the Daily Mirror.

Bulger’s mother, Denise Fergus, also criticized the filmmakers for not asking for their permission and demanded the Oscars to remove the short film from their shortlist.

"I don’t think Lambe had the right to do it, it’s been put on the shortlist now for the Oscar and I think it should be removed," Fergus said on an ITV talk show.

She thought that Lambe took advantage of their tragedy to gain success on their behalf.

"In my own personal opinion, I think he’s just trying to big his career up. And to do that under someone else’s grief is just unbelievable and unbearable," she said.

As an answer to Fergus, Lambe wrote on Twitter that: "He never intended any disrespect by not consulting her" and his film "had not been made for financial gain."

"This film is in no way sympathetic to the killers and does not attempt to make excuses for their horrendous actions," Lambe added.

The Oscars nominations will be announced on January 22th. 

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